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OverSword

Laser more powerful than the sun

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From the article:

From cat toys to Blu-Ray players, we humans like our lasers, but a new crazy-powerful laser under construction in the Czech Republic will have even the likes of Dr. Evil turning red with jealousy. The Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) Beamlines project is an EU-funded lab that astrophysicists and evil masterminds alike will covet the world over.

Due to be switched on by 2017, ELI Beamlines will construct a laser called the High-Repetition-Rate Advanced Petawatt Laser System (HAPLS). This bad boy will emit a short laser burst with an intensity of 1023 watts per square centimeter. That's 100,000 times more power than all the power stations in the world can put out — combined. It's as if all the energy of the Sun were focused into a single beam about as big as coaster.

Read it here

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sooooo don't point it directly into your eye right? :P

that's pretty awesome actually

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Hmmm I think the author might underestimate just how much energy our billions year old nuclear hell ball lets out. Guess we'll just have to find out.

Actually it somewhat reminds me of the scientists of the Manhattan Project, not sure if the bomb would work, or perhaps work to well and ignite the atmosphere! Ah, I love science.

Edited by DecoNoir
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In future wars we can just burn each others cities to the ground without radiating everything.

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Hmmm I think the author might underestimate just how much energy our billions year old nuclear hell ball lets out. Guess we'll just have to find out.

Reading the article, it seems like the author does underestimate the solar power by a factor of 1000 or so, but otherwise is basically correct.

This laser produces 1023 watts of power per square centimetre - but the beam only lasts 10-15 seconds, and the size of the laser spot will be considerably smaller than one square centimetre.

In fact, this slightly more technical press release reveals that the laser will only deliver 30 joules of energy. Delivering that energy in 30 x 10-15 s means the average power of the laser pulse is 1015 W, and if the pulse is focussed to an area of 1 square micron, then the intensity of the beam will be 1023 W/cm2.

Obviously the energy output of the Sun (for any arbitrary period of time) is vastly greater than the puny 30 joules that this laser produces.

The terminology can be misleading: the total power of the Sun is about 4 x 1026 W, so if that entire power output were focussed to an area some 64 x 64 cm (I don't know where the author got the ``about the size of a coaster'' area from, unless the Wiki is wrong about the Solar luminosity), it would have the same intensity as this laser - as long as the intensity is only averaged over the time of a single laser pulse.

The Sun is (obviously) continuously shining, while the pulses from this laser last only a few femtoseconds.

Edited by sepulchrave
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You nailed it, Sep, thanks!

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